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Former Waze CEO says the app could “grow faster” without Google




(Reuters)-Waze is struggling to grow within Alphabet Incs Google, a former top executive said, worries about whether the navigation app was curbed by the $ 1 billion acquisition of search giant in 2013. I made a new one.

File Photo: Waze, a mobile satellite navigation application, will be displayed on your smartphone with an illustration of this photo taken in Tel Aviv on May 9, 2013. Facebook Inc acquired an Israeli start-up in 2013. REUTERS / NirElias

More than 140 million drivers worldwide use Waze every month, according to a Wednesday blog post by Noam Bardin, who left on January 31st after directing Waze since 2009.

However, according to interviews with 11 former employees, Google Maps was heavily promoted, and Waze focused on the less-used carpool app, pursuing an advertising business that is rarely registered in the Google Empire. Because of this, Waze usage has been flat in some countries over the last year.

In recent months, antitrust critics and U.S. lawmakers have been competing by allowing Google to buy Waze as scrutiny of killer acquisitions designed to neutralize potential competitors grows. I’m wondering if the authorities have failed.

Birdin pointed out that Google imposed restrictions on Waze and copied the idea to Google Maps, saying that if it remained independent, it would probably have grown faster and much more efficiently. I am.

Birdin, who hasn’t been replaced yet, declined to comment further.

In response to his blog, Google has invested heavily in Waze and its community, adding features such as increased marketing spending, Waze car pools, tolls, contactless fuel payments, and integration with Audible. Stated.

In the statement, I pray for Noam’s future success.

A former employee said Birdin sought to maintain an innovative culture by holding a gathering separate from other Googles and discouraging promotion and bonus procedures that are popular with other Google units.

But Birdin said it’s naive to believe that Waze can reach its full potential within Google, despite its semi-autonomy.

We’ve fallen into the worst of both worlds-startups (scale, access, distribution) with corporate constraints (forced to use non-best-in-class systems, cost structures, politics, and culture inside). Everything was exacerbated by the inability to quickly hire and dismiss (such as the challenges of), Birdin wrote.

He lamented that Google’s perks such as free meals, stock-based rewards, and liberal vacation policies sneaked into Waze and eroded the magic of startups.

Founded in Israel in 2008, Waze has become popular because it crowdsources user maps and traffic information to keep it more up-to-date than its rivals and reduce travel time.

Prior to the pandemic, Waze generated more than $ 200 million a year from fast food, retail, and other ads that appear throughout the app, two ex-employees said, but how to grow further. Is a big debate within the company.

While some employees have advocated more attention to advertising, Birdin was more interested in the Waze app, released in 2016 to connect commuters and payers.

Waze Carpool produced 550,000 rides in September 2019. To facilitate its use last year, Bardin encouraged employers to subsidize key worker commuting. The results of that effort have not been revealed.

Reported by Paresh Dave in Oakland, California.Edited by Jonathan Weber and Richard Chan

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